Tag Archives: Tolstoy

Deserving but unrecognized: the forty-first seat

Marshall A. Lichtman Rochester, New York, United States   This gold medal is given to each laureate in literature. Each medal has one face that bears a profile of Alfred Nobel with his name and the date of his birth and death inscribed; the alternative side is unique to the discipline being honored. The medal […]

Placebo effect or care effect? Four examples from the literary world

Pekka Louhiala Raimo Puustinen Finland   It is common knowledge that patients may exhibit improvement following an encounter in which no specific drugs or effective medications were prescribed. Indeed, even fictional doctors have often been depicted as knowing that their patients may require no active drugs and that their mere presence, their advice and encouragement, […]

Tolstoy: insights for doctors and other humans

Maarten Wensink Southern Denmark   Tolstoy in May, 1908, photographed at Yasnaya Polyana by Sergey Prokudin-Gorsky It is a testimony to the genius of Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy that a fine selection of concepts later arduously acquired over the course of decades can be found in the first of Tolstoy’s great novels, War and Peace.1 Although Tolstoy was not primarily […]

Tolstoy, The Death of Ivan Ilych, and the five stages of grief

Katharine Lawrence Florida, United States   Ivan Ilych saw that he was dying, and he was in continual despair. “Vermiform appendix! Kidney!” he said to himself. “It’s not a question of appendix or kidney, but of life and . . . death. Yes, life was there and now it is going, going and I cannot […]